Twilight The Traveler Chapter 17 – The Enchanted Sword Masamune

Twilight the Traveler

// The Enchanted Sword Masamune// Story: Twilight the Traveler// by ilbgar//——————————//

After her usual breakfast, Tara arrived to find that Professor Stein had cancelled classes for the day, so she simply started to read the textbook. Whenever she was bored, she would read the books, take notes, and do the assignments in them. She kept the assignments organized in her apartment, and had any assignments they received ready weeks beforehand. It was impossible to be tardy like this!

She concentrated on her book harder to shut out the urge to laugh like a maniac. With the exception of Maka, no one else was any where near this studious, and eventually, even Maka grew bored. This was probably why she asked “I wonder if something’s come up with Professor Stein canceling class like this, or maybe he’s just skipping so he can dissect something. What do you guys think?”

“Well, I wouldn’t put the latter past him, but it’s probably the former.” Tara answered.

“Who knows with that guy, but don’t worry about it! Today’ll be cool, especially without Sir Spaz-a-lot.” Soul responded.

“I’m guessing you mean Blackstar. Now that I look, Tsubaki isn’t here either.” Maka said, a trace of concern entering her voice.

“Hm, now that you mention it, could they be on a dangerous mission? That would explain the Professor.” Tara hypothesized.

“Oh, haven’t you guys heard? Someone overheard some teachers talking in the faculty room earlier. Apparently, they’re out to collect the soul of the Enchanted Sword.” a girl Tara didn’t know said. Tara was not well-acquainted with anyone beyond her established circle of friends and the faculty. Of course, that tended to translate to ‘Sorry, what’s your name again?’

“Enchanted Sword?” Maka asked.

“Sounds like Masamune, a katana.” Tara answered.

“I hope they’re okay. It’s gonna be tough, they say the sword is on the verge of becoming a Kishin.” the girl said, concern bleeding through.

Maka and Tara shared a glance, then looked at Soul. “Let’s try asking Lord Death.” Tara said. With a little coaxing, they got Soul moving and they started down to the Death Room.

When they got there, they went for the direct approach. “Lord Death, I want to know why you sent Blackstar and Tsubaki after Masamune!” Maka said.

Tara blinked. ‘Perhaps a bit too direct.’ she thought for a good three seconds before changing her mind.

Death sweat-dropped and put both hands out in the universal ‘stop’ position. “Woah there Meister! Who invited you to the Death Room in the first place?” he asked. Stein waved from behind them.

Maka and Tara stood straighter. “As the DWMA handbook states in the 118th rule, in the event of an emergency students are allowed to enter the Death Room without first obtaining permission!” Maka quoted.

“Really!? It does?!” Death asked surprised. Odd, hadn’t he written the thing?

“Yes.” Tara flipped through the handbook she kept in her backpack and showed him the rule in question. “See?” she asked.

“What type of enemy is this ‘Enchanted Sword’ father?” Kid asked as he, Liz, and Patty walked up.

“Kid? You’re joining in on the party too?” Death asked.

“The Enchanted Sword guy isn’t like the Demon Sword guy is he?” Soul asked.

“I hope not.” Maka responded.

“… Well there’s yet another image I’ll never get out of my head.” Tara shuddered. Blackstar acting like Crona and Tsubaki acting like Ragnarok. That was just weird and wrong.

“No, for starters, the Enchanted Sword doesn’t have a witch with him, though he might actually be less dangerous if he were under a witch’s supervision. The Enchanted Sword exploits the fear in people’s hearts. He uses fear in order to possess his targets and control their bodies like puppets. Once they have been completely brought under his control on the spiritual level as well, he consumes their souls.” Stein said, his expression was serious.

“Unless someone stops him, he will become a Kishin.” Stein said with an air of finality.

*** Meanwhile In Needlepoint Village ***

It was pouring rain outside, but a late teen was currently inside a small storehouse. “How could that Star Clan murderer dare show up here?!” he asked angrily as his hands trembled while gripping a sickle. He grabbed one hand with the other and forced the shaking to stop. “Will this sickle even work against someone like that?” he asked with a fearful quaver to his voice. “I’m old enough now to take revenge for my parents’ murders by those Star Clan bastards!” he said, trying to convince himself. Blackstar was the only surviving member of a powerful clan of assassins. The Star Clan had become obsessed with power and began taking human souls, after the DWMA took them out, Blackstar was spared as he was an infant at the time. He was taken in, and the rest was history.

Suddenly a deep, creepy voice said “You see I think… and therefore I am… and therefore I eat.” The teen turned to see a man with a wide-brimmed hat, a white traveling cloak, a set of good leather traveling boots, a pair of dull brown pants, and a shirt.

“Hey, who are you?” the teen asked, understandably suspicious.

“I think therefore I eat. You have fear hiding in your soul don’t you?” the man asked.

The teen immediately got defensive. “Fear? Why would you think that?” the teen asked, then noticed he was still holding the sickle from earlier and hid it behind his back. “No, I don’t have any fear.” the teen responded.

The man seemed indifferent. “We’ll see now won’t we?” he asked as one would discuss a normal day’s weather. “With my power, your fear could disappear permanently. Gone just like that.” the man said. “So, how about it?” he asked suddenly directly in front of the teen.

A minute or so later, a man in a green sweater and jeans who was middle-aged and balding walked in carrying a pile of short wooden poles. “Ah Ryoku, there you
are. I brought some stuff we can use as weapons if that assassin comes back.” he said, putting the poles down and began to sift through them. “13 years ago we put up those needles, in all that time we haven’t had a single thief come along.” the man had yet to notice the katanna Ryoku was holding and Ryuko had yet to react in any way, never mind turn around.

“Not that you have anything to worry about! I’ll protect the village like I did back in the old days! No one could take me!” he said, then paused. “Huh, that’s an unusual sword you’ve got. Where’d you get something that fancy? There shouldn’t have been anything like that in here.” the man commented. Unseen by him, the sword crackled with dark energy for a moment. “Uh Ryoku, are you okay?” he asked, concerned at still not getting a reaction from the teenager.

“…” Ryoku finally turned around and the man got a good look at his face. He had strange tattoos criss-crossing his face and each other, and his eyes had turned black while his irises had become red. The man screamed and ran, but the possessed teenager caught up to him without real effort.

Meanwhile, Tsubaki and Blackstar were waiting for Masamune to appear on a tree at the edge of town, when Blackstar heard the man’s screaming. “It’s him.” Blackstar said calmly. “Let’s go!” he said, jumping down.

“Right!” Tsubaki answered, and jumped down as well. They ran in the direction of the scream Blackstar had heard.

Back with the old man, he was sitting on the ground, terrified of the possessed teenager. “No… wait Ryoku… what’s gotten into you?!” the man yelled in fear.

“Ryoku…?” the sword the Ryoku was holding said using him, clearly responsible for the possession. “Who is this Ryoku? I am the Enchanted Sword Masamune. I think therefore I am hungry… for souls.” the sword said, using Ryoku to begin raising itself.

The man whimpered in terror, but Masamune paused as the sound of running feet became audible. Just as he managed to turn, Blackstar leaped into the air and kicked his possessed body in the face pushing him back. The man got up and ran off yelling.

“So you’re the Enchanted Sword, huh?” Blackstar said, then paused as he got a good look at the teen. “Wait a sec, you’re that kid from earlier, the one with the money. What’s hell’s going on?” he asked.

Tsubaki walked up. “It’s the Soul Possession technique… just one thing that sword can do.” she explained.

“I’ve never heard of that before. How’s it work?” he asked.

“You know how normally Meisters and Weapons synchronize their Soul Wavelengths to unify themselves…? That’s not what the Enchanted Sword does. Instead of matching he simply takes control of a person’s soul and uses them as a puppet. When he’s finished with the host, their soul is devoured.” she looked at the blade which was currently crackling with dark energy. ‘That’s the Enchanted Sword Masamune, it used to be so beautiful, but that beauty has become clouded by evil and darkness.’ she thought.

The sword glowed red briefly, as if in recognition. “Oh, it’s you, is it?” Masamune asked, before rushing at them.

“What now?” Blackstar asked as they moved back to avoid being skewered. They then jumped over and past a slash.

“He may be powerful, but he can’t control two Soul Wavelengths at the same time. Listen Blackstar… if you were to shoot your Wavelength into that boy, the Enchanted Sword would be forced to separate from him.” Tsubaki explained. They landed on their feet silently like the ninja they were. “After that, leave the rest to me.” she said, transforming into her Chain-scythe Mode.

*** Death Room ***

“Hm, that could work, but what do the plan to do with the sword afterward? Anyone who picks it up could be possessed, and wearing gloves isn’t going to cut it since Soul Wavelengths pretty much ignore most clothing.” Tara wondered. Her gloves were specially-made to keep her from draining people on accident.

“That’s a good point, but I think we can trust Tsubaki and Blackstar to come up with something.” Death said. They nodded, and watched their friends intently through the mirror.

*** With Tsubaki And Blackstar ***

“Just shoot my Soul Wavelength at them, right? That’s all you need me to do?” Blackstar asked.

“Yes.” Tsubaki answered seriously. Ryuko rushed at them again. “I joined the Academy in order to hunt down the Enchanted Sword.” Blackstar blocked a slash with Tsubaki’s chains. “This is my fight.” she said, uncharacteristically grim. “And I’m sorry… to put you in the middle Blackstar.” she apologized.

“Tsubaki… Come on, please tell me that’s not what you’re really thinking… You know better than that don’t you?” he said as he struggled to hold Masamune back with the chains. “Weapons and Meisters…” he forced Masamune away. “we depend on each other don’t we?!” he lunged at Masamune, forcing him further away. “You can lean on me Tsubaki… And you can do it a heck of a lot more than you do now, got it?” he asked.

“Yes.” she said with a smile.

Blackstar rushed at Masamune, who slashed at him. He ducked under it, and got behind Masamune, then blocked another slash. He was about to hit Masamune’s possessed body with Soul Force, when Masamune spoke. “Puppet Shadow.” a black thing reared up and slashed at Blackstar, cutting him along the shoulder.

“Blackstar!” Tsubaki called in concern.

“What the hell was that?!” Blackstar asked as he skidded back. He then got a good look at the wiry black creature coming out of the ground where Ryuko’s shadow lay. “You’ve gotta be kidding me! The Enchanted Sword can even control a possessed person’s shadow?! How does that even work!” he yelled. He had a point.

The shadow retreated into the ground, growling “Shadow!”

Masamune glowed red briefly as it ordered “Puppet, get him!” The shadow rushed across the ground, before emerging near Blackstar and slashing at him, the attack was blocked, but Masamune’s attack forced Blackstar to take a jump backwards.

“So it’s two against one, huh? I can handle that!” Blackstar said. The shadow stretched out it’s arm and tried to pierce Blackstar’s shoulder, only for him to duck
under the blow and back-flip out of the way. “Let’s shake him Tsubaki! Ninja Sword Mode!” Blackstar called out.

“Right!” Tsubaki responded, shifting to a Japanese short sword that was only a little longer than a knife.

A tentacle of shadow lunged for him, but he said “Speed Star!” and his speed increased to the point of blurring around the battlefield to avoid the strike and several more. It was really impressive that the shadow was so flexible, and even more so that Blackstar was dodging so easily. He appeared next to Masamune, but the slash at Blackstar swiped through an after-image. “You missed!” he began appearing in spots in a rough circle a few feet away from Masamune. “You can’t catch me! Hyahoo! I bet you can’t even see me, can you? Nope, you can’t! And do you know why? Because I’m one dude who’s way ahead of his time! You’ll be lucky to even see one hair on my head! Blink just one second and you’ll miss me! That’s how fast I am!” he called.

Unfortunately, he slipped on some mud and went sliding straight into a rather odd statue. It was an eclipse on the top, a rectangular body with a horned being on it, and two red fins sticking out. It was connected to the ground by a pedestal. It looked like it hurt too.

“Maybe you should save Speed Star for days when it’s not raining, huh?” Tsubaki asked.

“I’m just a dude who’s way ahead of his time, ya know? Does that mean I was born too early because time can’t keep up with me? Man… Speed Star… is way deep, huh?” he asked.

The shadow loomed over him, and he just barely dodged being impaled in the face. “Damn, I can’t hit him when I have to spend all my time dodging his attacks!” Blackstar growled. “I have to try something else.” he said.

The shadow formed a drill around the katana Ryuko was holding. “Playtime’s over, now we fight for real.” Masamune said.

“That stance…! Careful Blackstar, he’s going to shoot a beam from the sword!” Tsubaki warned. Blackstar braced himself.

“Now die. Puppet Thrust!” Masamune called out. The shadow was fired at Blackstar as a beam attack.

“I can see it.” Blackstar murmured. A huge cloud of dust was thrown up by the attack, but as it cleared, it became obvious that Blackstar had deflected the attack. He smirked a little.

Apparently insulted by this, Masamune said “Branch out Shadow!” spikes erupted from the shadow, stabbing Blackstar several times. He grunted in pain as the shadow removed itself from him and reformed in front of Blackstar, managing to give him a cut across the forehead.

He staggered back a step, but said “I’m not done with you yet!” through gritted teeth. Masamune charged at him, causing Blackstar to duck under a slash. He retaliated with a Soul Force attack, only for it to be deflected with Masamune’s blade, leaving Blackstar open to an attack from the shadow, opening a cut on his stomach. ‘Damn! I’m still ahead, it’s not my time yet!’ he thought.

The two combatants clashed swords. ‘C’mon… c’mon… come on!’ Blackstar thought. They passed each other, Blackstar landing near the statue again. Masamune rushed at him. ‘Is it my time now?’ he thought. Both Masamune and the shadow attacked, but Blackstar jumped over both. “Tsubaki! Chain-scythe Mode!” Blackstar said, causing Tsubaki to shift again. Masamune and the shadow gave it another try. “Now Tsubaki!” he said.

“Okay!” she agreed.

“Let’s go Soul Resonance!” they said in unison. Tsubaki’s chains rapidly formed a five-point star.

“Shield Star!” Blackstar called out, as a yellow star formed inside the chains. Masamune’s strike couldn’t get past the shield, only causing a sound similar to that of metal on metal as the sword contacted the yellow star.

“I’ll do anything it takes to stop you. You dive into destruction without considering what lies ahead, and now Blackstar has you.” Tsubaki said.

“Puppet!” Masamune called. The shadow lunged at Blackstar and extended both sets of fingers to try and impale him, but he dodged and jumped up.

“Your time is up! Mid-air combat is something I’m good at!” he readied his signature Soul Force technique. “Which makes this… MY TURF! Blackstar Big Wave!” he hit Ryuko with his Soul Wavelength, forcing Masamune to release him. “Now Tsubaki!” Blackstar called as he caught Ryuko.

“Right!” Tsubaki responded, catching Masamune by the hilt, and passing him in mid-air. No one watching missed the happy smile on her face. ‘Blackstar… thank you. I’ll be back.’

“Interesting. Coming inside was your plan all along, wasn’t it?” Masamune asked, a dark grin spreading across his face.

Tsubaki landed, kneeling, but still holding onto the sword. ‘From this point on, it really is my fight. I will stop the Enchanted Sword.’ she gasped as the same tattoos Ryoku had not a minute beforehand appeared on her. Apparently, they were a sign of Masamune’s influence. She then screamed as green energy crackled throughout her body and a blinding light appeared.

*** Death Room ***

“What just happened?” Soul asked.

“Tsubaki’s gone inside the Enchanted Sword.” Stein explained.

“Why would you do that Tsubaki?” Maka asked.

“What was she thinking? How’s she supposed to fight without a Meister?” Soul asked.

“It doesn’t make sense for her to fight him alone.” Tara said, concern etched on her face.

“You don’t get it, the fight is taking place inside their souls, anything could happen now.” Death reprimanded. “It had to come to this. You see, Tsubaki is the only one who can stand against the Enchanted Sword.” Death explained.

*** With Tsubaki And Blackstar ***

“Tsubaki, you’re in, now make sure you come back out.” Blackstar said.

*** Inside The Souls ***

The inside of Masamune was disturbing. Shadows, representing people’s souls which were absorbed into Masamune, were scattered about over blood-red water and a black sickly grinning moon with blood dripping down it’s face from both it’s mouth and eye looked down on it all with sadistic glee.

“This is the inside of the Enchanted Sword.” Tsubaki said aloud. “Where are you? I know you’ll be coming after my soul in order to possess it.” she asked.

“Soul Possession? No, not that. I think I’ll devour your soul just the way it is.” Masamune rested on the arm of one of the shadows as if it were a tree branch. “I have to admit it’s nice to see you again… Tsubaki.” he said.

“Hi brother.” Tsubaki said, scythes forming in her hands in a burst of yellow light. She could bring them out without transforming since this was also inside her soul. Masamune brought out his sword form in a burst of pinkish-red light.

“Ready?” they asked at the same time as they got into their respective stances.

*** Meanwhile In Needlepoint Village ***

“Ryoku?” a villager asked as they approached Blackstar and Tsubaki, intent on making them leave, but noticing the unconscious teenager.

“What happened? Is he okay?” another asked.

“This is the Star Clan’s fault! Look what they’ve done to Ryoku!” another answered.

“It’s terrible!” one said.

“Get out of our village, murderer!” one yelled as he started beating on Blackstar with a stick. Blackstar simply sat there and took it.

“Tsubaki.” he murmured.

“Did you hear me?! I said get out! Get out!” the villager stopped after a particularly brutal strike, panting for breath.

“Okay, just make sure you come back!” Blackstar said, smiling despite the blood running down his face.

*** Inside The Souls ***

Tsubaki charged at Masamune, screaming involuntarily. Masamune blocked effortlessly, knocked her away causing her to lose her balance, and then grabbed her by the face and lifted her up. “What’s the matter Tsubaki? I know you didn’t come to visit, so why isn’t there any force behind your attacks? You’re just like your namesake the Camellia Blossom.” he let go just long enough to grab Tsubaki by her hair and dunk her head under the water.

“A flower without fragrance. It proclaims nothing, blooming in pathetic silence. No scent, no voice of your own. When your petals scatter it is quietly tragic.” he kicked her away while cutting her along the waist. “Such a boring flower.” he said as Tsubaki struggled up. “You know what I think? If this was the outside world you’d be dead right now.” Tsubaki panted raggedly. “What’s the matter? Your soul’s trembling. What are you so afraid of? Is it death?” he asked.

“I may die today, but I will stop you!” Tsubaki said adamantly, her eyes narrowing.

Masamune started, then clutched at his face with one hand. “Stop it! Stop looking at me! Those eyes… you are the one who brought me here. The one who put me on the path to becoming the Enchanted Sword.” he accused.

*** Meanwhile In Needlepoint Village ***

The villagers continued to beat on Blackstar, who continued to sit there and take it.

*** Death Room ***

Death chuckled. “Blackstar’s showing more restraint with those two than I thought was possible for him.” he said.

“I still can’t believe Tsubaki and Masamune are brother and sister.” Maka said.

“But Blackstar has no idea about that does he?” Soul asked.

Death nodded. “He trusts her, and for now that’s all he needs to know.” Death responded.

“Tsubaki hasn’t moved since she screamed earlier, are you sure she’s alright?” Maka asked.

“Hm, if you don’t mind Tara? Don’t worry, everyone here is in the know.” Death asked.

“Alright.” an illusion began to form, but was cut off as she noticed Stein eating lunch.

“We brought snacks everybody!” Liz and Patty called out as they hefted 2 large bags.

“Snacks at a time like this?! Are you two dipsticks crazy?!” Maka yelled.

“Anyway, I’ll illustrate while Stein narrates.” Tara said, a pair of vacuum hoses connected to each other appeared, along with an image of Tsubaki and Masamune’s soul at each end. Tsubaki’s was yellow and seemed distressed, while Masamune’s was red and seemed almost arrogantly confident.

“Tsubaki and Masamune are trying to take over each other’s souls. Masamune is trying to possess Tsubaki’s while Tsubaki tries to absorb his.” Stein explained.

“Ah, turning his own technique against him. Nice.” Kid said as he snacked. “Still, do you think she can win?” Kid asked.

“It will certainly be difficult. She’s fighting Masamune in his soul, so he’s got the home court advantage, and he has far more experience with the Soul Possession technique as it is one of his trademarks. Yeah, her chances of winning are low altogether.” Stein ate a troublesome piece of food that he’d been trying to grab with his chopsticks for the last few minutes, before resorting to stabbing it.

“Still, that might be the best chance she’s got. Transporting him in sword form would be difficult, and it’s almost impossible to destroy a Demon Weapon while in their Weapon form, especially a Kishinized one.” Tara noted, looking at the situation logically.

“Brother and sister locked in a fight to the death! I can’t even imagine! I couldn’t go on living without you Patty!” Liz said, shaking her sister and crying.

“There, there.” Patty patted her sister on the back, seeming unconcerned.

“Those who start down the road to becoming a Kishin reveal their own weakness. The original Kishin sought escape from the fear of death. The question is, why did Tsubaki’s brother travel down this path? What does he seek to gain by becoming a Kishin?” Stein asked.

“The motivation tends to be fear, bitterness, or jealousy. Though a simple lust for power isn’t uncommon.” Tara added.

*** Inside The Souls ***

Tsubaki stood and rushed at her brother at speeds most humans couldn’t match or even follow. “You have so many other options. You could use your Smoke Bomb or Shuriken forms,” Tsubaki sent a scythe flying at him, only for it to be deflected effortlessly. “but you stick with that Chain-scythe instead.” Masamune said, seeming angry. Tsubaki reached him, but her attack was blocked. “Why are you holding back?” he growled even as he gave her a cut along the shoulder. “Pity? Do you pity me?!” he yelled, his face twisted in anger.

*** Death Room ***

“That’s not good.” Tara said with forced calm as Tsubaki’s soul started to get pulled into her end of the vacuum hose. Since Death’s mirror was not even close to ordinary, she could use Soul Perception through it and get the general idea of what was going on, which was reflected in her illusion.

“It’s not over yet.” Death said.

“Tsubaki and Masamune both come from the Nakatsukasa family. That clan possesses special Weapon abilities that are handed down through the generations. In theory, Masamune should have inherited the previous generation’s abilities, as he was the eldest child. However, Tsubaki inherited them instead. No one is sure of the reason.” Stein explained. Tara would simply put it down to the randomness of genetics. There was nothing guaranteeing a child would inherit a particular trait from their parents, so there was nothing stopping the younger child from inheriting the power.

*** Inside The Souls ***

“You inherited everything that should have been mine by birthright. This sword is the only thing I inherited. For the longest time, I was treated far more delicately than other children. I was babied and spoiled, getting whatever I asked for. One day I realized it was because everyone thought I was inferior. Ironically enough, you were the one who showed me that sad truth.” Masamune said, making an extremely shallow slice across Tsubaki’s cheek.

He grabbed at his face in apparent emotional pain. “The pity in your eyes when you looked at me because you thought you were the strong one. You hid it, but I could see it anyway. I’ll never forgive you for that!” Shadows rose up in a pillar surrounding him. “Tsubaki, dear sister, I’m going to kill you. I will become a Kishin…” he let go of his face and you could see the madness in his eyes. “And then I’m going to master this sword!” he proclaimed.

“…Puppet Rain.” he said softly. Shadows wrapped their arms around Tsubaki’s wrists, ankles, and neck, causing her to cry out in pain. Unbeknownst to her, the illusion showed her soul about halfway sucked into the hose.

*** Meanwhile In Needlepoint Village ***

The villagers continued to beat on Blackstar, who smiled as he remembered how he and Tsubaki had met during their first day as official students. One of the villagers noticed Tsubaki sitting there and (correctly) assumed that she was with Blackstar. He was about to bring the stick down on her, but Blackstar caught it effortlessly.

“Listen you snot-nosed brat, don’t even think about interrupting Tsubaki again or I’ll kill you!” he snapped the stick in half with one hand, sending the villager sprawling to the ground. “You got me?” he asked, the blood on his face making him terrifying. “Just sit there and keep your mouth shut.” Blackstar finished.

“Oh yeah? Well screw you Star Clan member!” the villager threw the stick at Blackstar’s face and ran off.

*** Death Room ***

“What the hell is wrong with these people?!” Soul asked.

“The Star Clan was responsible for killing hundreds of people, many of them for money or to eat their souls. It’s only natural they’d make enemies. Though I fail to see what attacking a boy who was a baby when the clan was slaughtered for their crimes does to help anyone.” Stein said.

*** Inside The Souls ***

“Any last words before I kill you Tsubaki?” Masamune asked. Tsubaki was silent. “You truly are a pathetic little Camellia blossom aren’t you? Nothing to say.” the shadows drew her right in front of him. “And now Tsubaki, your soul belongs to me.” he said, before impaling her. The illusory Tsubaki soul was completely sucked in.

*** Death Room ***

“What was Tsubaki thinking, taking him on all alone?” Maka asked.

“Tsubaki is a powerful, adaptable Weapon, but this time her opponent is too strong. I should have been the one to face the Enchanted Sword.” Stein said.

“I wouldn’t give up on her just yet.” Tara said. She had confidence in her friends. It would take more than this to stop one of them.

“She’s right. Tsubaki isn’t really alone. Blackstar’s right there with her, and he won’t budge. She wouldn’t be able to fight otherwise.” Soul agreed.

“That’s right.” Death said with a nod before placing a hand to his heart. “What’s important right now is what’s in here. We all know that Tsubaki is a powerful and adaptable Weapon with many modes of attack. But that’s not where her true strength lies. That’s in her soul.” Death said.

*** Inside The Souls ***

“What are you feeling right now little sister? Do you still look down on me? It must be nice to have such a sense of superiority over others. You just stand there, quiet and smug, taking care of everyone else because you’re the strong one. How can you deny it? That’s who you’ve always been.” Masamune accused.

“Please tell me that’s not what you’re actually thinking. You know better than that Tsubaki, don’t even listen to this guy!” Blackstar said, placing a hand on her shoulder after appearing from nowhere, then disappearing just as quickly.

Tsubaki opened her eyes as her soul began forcing it’s way back out of the hose. “You’re wrong.” she said, causing Masamune to kick her away. She landed in a sitting position, and stood without trouble. “You’re wrong!” she yelled. “You’re wrong! You’re Wrong! You’re Wrong!! YOU’RE WRONG!!” she yelled louder and louder, utterly denying Masamune’s accusation.

“I’m not taking care of you anymore! I’m going to stop you!” her Chain-scythes, changed into her Ninja Sword Mode. “Please, feel in your soul how serious I am! I’m begging you.” Tsubaki said, switching her hand to a reverse grip to increase her power.

“You don’t stand a chance!” Masamune growled. “You’re just a pathetic little Camellia Blossom! You might act brave, but in the end you have no scent or voice!” Masamune yelled, clearly losing it.

“You’re wrong! I won’t let you call me a pathetic flower anymore! I have a friend who’s helped me realize that a Camellia Blossom… does have a fragrance!” Tsubaki shouted back.

At that moment Masamune completely snapped. He roared in rage, and shadows lunged for Tsubaki as she ran at him. Tsubaki slashed and stabbed the shadows, cutting herself a path. She used the nearest shadow as a springboard to launch herself into the air and try a falcon slash on Masamune, who roared as he swung his sword at her. A shockwave rolled through the soulscape, destroying the shadows and momentarily causing the water to turn blue. They had impaled each other in the same instant.

*** Meanwhile In Needlepoint Village ***

Tsubaki’s body stirred, sitting up. Blackstar noticed immediately. “Tsubaki!” he called. Tsubaki turned into white smoke and was drawn into the sword.

“She’s going inside the Enchanted Sword? That can’t be… Did he beat Tsubaki? Does that mean it’s over?” Blackstar asked, falling to his knees.

*** Death Room ***

Both souls had disappeared into their ends of the hose. Tara could only stare. “Did they taken each other out?” she asked. Despair and disbelief warred for dominance in her voice and emotions.

“Tsubaki!” Maka called. “I can’t watch this, it can’t be real!” she said, closing her eyes.

*** Meanwhile In Needlepoint Village ***

Blackstar turned to the nearest villager, who happened to be the old man Ryuko had attacked while possessed. “Hey old man! Give me that stick!” he said, grabbing the stick and yanking it out of the man’s hands. He began to prod the sword with the stick.

“Hey Tsubaki! Come out of there already! You haven’t lost to him have you?” Blackstar asked. “You can put on a better show than that, come back out on stage!” he started to lightly hit the sword with the stick. “Encore! Encore! Encore!” with each ‘encore’ Blackstar hit the stick more often and with more force. “Tsubaki, encore! Give us an encore!” Blackstar said.

*** Inside The Souls ***

“At last… you’ve finally shown me what you’re feeling.” Masamune said as slowly began to fade away from the feet up. “I always thought that the Camellia Blossom was a boring flower. One without fragrance.” He was gone from the waist down now, and the soulscape had switched to Tsubaki’s. The moon was replaced with the sun, the water was a clear blue, and the shadows were replaced by Camellia petals.

“But I was wrong wasn’t I? I realized as soon as I touched your soul.” he said, his eyes having returned to those of a normal human.

“Masamune…” Tsubaki said sadly and weakly.

“It’s a nice fragrance.” he said, smiling as he vanished completely, leaving behind a Kishin Egg soul.

Tsubaki hugged it and shed tears. “Brother…”

*** Meanwhile In Needlepoint Village ***

“Encore! Encore! Encore! Encore! Come on Tsubaki! Encore!” Blackstar called as he jabbed the sword with the stick he was holding. “Encore dammit! Give us an encore! We want an encore!” he was yelling now.

The sword erupted into smoke, sending Blackstar flying back and causing his stick to be sent flying above him and back down on his head. Tsubaki became visible as the mist faded. “See? I told you I’d come back.” she said.

“Tsubaki?” Blackstar asked.

“I just had to pay a visit to my brother.” Tsubaki said.

“Oh, you did huh? Well welcome back. Are you alright?” Blackstar asked, seemingly unconcerned, but it was easy to tell it was an act.

“Oh yes.” Tsubaki said with a smile.

“Are you sure you’re really okay?” Blackstar asked seriously.

“Yes, I promise I’m okay.” Tsubaki answered.

Blackstar smiled widely. “Alright then, come over here.” Blackstar said. Tsubaki looked surprised. “Come on, Blackstar’s giving you a big hug.” he said.

Tsubaki teared up, then ran over and hugged Blackstar as she started crying. “I’m sorry! Look at you Blackstar, you’re all covered in blood! Are you alright?” she asked.

Blackstar patted her on the head. “Nevermind about me Tsubaki, I’m fine.” he said, only to get a whap on the head from one of the villagers. This was the last straw, and Blackstar said “Alright! That’s it, you asked for it!” then decked the villager in the face.

Ryuko finally woke up a few seconds later. “Oh, kid’s still alive? That’s good news.” Blackstar said, completely oblivious to the expressions on everyone’s faces.

“The Star Clan are all monsters!” a villager said.

“Beating up a little kid…” another said.

“Get out of here, now!” yet another growled.

“You ever notice how the smallest dogs bark the loudest?” Blackstar asked as he stretched. “Why don’t you mutts shut up?!” Blackstar yelled, apparently fed up with the physical abuse and name-calling. The villagers grew progressively angrier. “You’re scared of an enemy that doesn’t exist anymore, how lame are you?” he raised a finger to the sky. “What’s the point of worrying about the past? A real star always keeps moving forward!” Blackstar said.

“Don’t give us that!” one of the villagers yelled.

“Never come back!” Aggravated, the villagers formed an angry mob and chased Blackstar and Tsubaki out of town by throwing rocks and sticks.

“Who’d want to come back here anyway?” Blackstar called, sticking his tongue out at the villagers.

“I’m sorry! Once you get to know him, he’s not bad, really!” Tsubaki called.

“Even if he wasn’t a member of the Star Clan I still wouldn’t like that guy.” Ryuko was grinning despite what he’d just said.

*** The Death Room: Several Hours Later ***

Once Blackstar got treated for his injuries, the ninja duo headed to the Death Room. “So Tsubaki, now that we’ve taken care of the Enchanted Sword and you’ve dealt with some baggage from your past, you’re still gonna be my Weapon partner right?” Blackstar asked.

After a beat, Tsubaki said, “Of course!”

“Alright!” Blackstar said with a grin.

The two of them stepped into the Death Room proper, where everyone said “Welcome back!” in unison.

“Hey, what’d we miss?” Blackstar asked cheerfully.

Tsubaki bowed hurriedly. “I’m sorry we made you all worry.” she apologized.

“Hey, hey, good work you two!” Death praised them.

“You guys were amazing out there!” Maka agreed.

“And you finally bagged a soul.” Soul said.

“The problem child finally redeems himself.” Kid said.

“It sure took you long enough though!” Soul said.

“Well I’ve always been a little bit ahead of my time.” Blackstar said, giving them a thumbs-up.

“You did it Tsubaki!” Maka praised.

“I was kind of worried for a minute there, but everything turned out fine.” Tara said, smiling.

“This little baby cried you know.” Liz said, pointing at Patty.

“Nuh-uh! That was you sis!” Patty complained.

“You know Lord Death, I think I may have underestimated what those kids are capable of, they’re pretty good.” Stein said.

“They are still young after all, they’ve got plenty of growing up left to do.” Death said.

“Attention!” Blackstar called from on top of the mirror behind Death. “I hope you’re all ready, ’cause I’m about to show you something incredibly awesome!” he proclaimed loudly.

“Oh, this should be good.” Kid and Soul said at the same time.

“He went back to normal pretty quick.” Tara deadpanned.

Death ‘Hm?’ed.

“Listen up! Thanks to that soul we bagged, Tsubaki’s got a brand new Weapon form!” Blackstar announced. Those watching ‘Oooh!’ed. “Let’s show ’em Tsubaki!” Blackstar said.

“Right!” she agreed, dissolving into white smoke.

“Enchanted Sword Mode!” Blackstar called as Tsubaki reformed into a katana almost the same as the one Masamune had used, but a shade lighter. A single swing created enough air pressure to equal a gust of wind. Unfortunately, it seemed to be extremely draining as Blackstar collapsed onto the ground after a single swing, prompting sweatdrops from everyone else.

Tsubaki reverted to human form, and lifted Blackstar up. “Blackstar!” she called, concerned.

“My Soul Wavelength got taken away. I’m gonna miss it.” Blackstar groaned out.

“I don’t think that’s what Blackstar had planned. He might not be ready for that Mode yet. This is interesting though. It seems Tsubaki’s inherited her brother’s power.” Stein observed with a smile as he smoked a cigarette.

“He’s probably going to have to do some special training if he wants to use Enchanted Sword Mode for very long. I wonder if Tsubaki’s other forms got a boost too?” Tara noted.

“This settles it, I was born way too soon.” Blackstar said as Tsubaki fanned him. “The times are never able to keep up with me.”

“Then we’ll wait for them together, right Blackstar?” Tsubaki asked. Blackstar nodded weakly.

*** Meanwhile: A Witch Meeting. Unknown Location. ***

“Jouma… Jouma… Jouma, Jouma, Dabarasa!” the Grand Witch said. She had black witch’s clothes that covered virtually all of her skin, and her hat looked like some kind of monster that wanted to eat you. Bandages covered one eye, which she had lost decades before. “As Grand Witch, I declare this Witch’s Mass open. Let us begin.” she said. The witches repeated the words the Grand Witch had begun with, including Medusa, who was in the back with Crona and Ragnarok. Apparently it was a prayer or something similar.

After Witch’s Mass, Medusa said, “Come along Crona.” as she put her hood up.

“Yes ma’am Lady Medusa.” Crona said, complying.

They had barely taken three steps when a witch with orange pouches on her cheeks reminiscent of a frog, waist-length silver hair, a green and polka dot dress that ended at the knees, black pants, white boots with heels, and an orange frog hat stuck a stick out to bar their path. Next to her was a girl in a trenchcoat that covered the lower half of her face with a black rat head hat, and short pink hair. “Hold it.” she said.

“Oh dear.” Medusa said with mock worry.

“Ah! What’s going on, she won’t let us go! I don’t think I know how to deal with this situation!” Crona said looking at his/her hands.

Ragnarok grabbed Crona’s face. “You can deal with it by shutting up already!” he said.

“Good evening Erica Frog, did you need something?” Medusa asked cordially.

“Ribbit. I think you know why I’m stopping you.” Erica said.

“Well if it’s about Crona, then I’m not the only one who brought a non-witch to the gathering. That little witch over there brought a human with her, so I don’t see what the problem is.” Medusa said, turning her head towards a swordsman who was carrying the aforementioned witch on his back. The witch happened to be 5 or so, and her powers had yet to manifest strongly, so as long as the human in question was trustworthy, no one really made an issue of it.

“The security of the Witch’s Mass certainly has gone downhill, but that isn’t what I wanted to talk to you about tonight Medusa. I have some questions about what you’ve been doing. First, what were you doing stealing something from the Grand Witch’s room? Second, why on earth would you sneak yourself onto the staff of the DWMA? You’re practically asking to get killed.” Erica asked.

Medusa snapped her fingers. “Crona get me my coat.” she said, ignoring Erica.

“Yes, right away Lady Medusa.” Crona said, putting the snakeskin-patterned coat on Medusa’s back. Medusa put the coat on.

“My research at the Academy has been fully approved, as you well know. The Grand Witch herself is on my side Erica.” Medusa said, and started walking off.

“Just a minute.” Erica stopped Medusa again. “The Grand Witch’s eyesight is failing. She doesn’t see what a nuisance you’ve made of yourself lately. That Academy was built to hunt down Kishin Eggs and Witches. If you slip up just once, you’ll take all of us with you. You won’t be the only one in trouble.

Then there’s him.” Erica glanced at Crona and Ragnarok. “Why would you try to create a Kishin? They go after Witches as often as normal humans. You’ve taken this too far, it’s time for you to stop.” Erica said. Before she or the Mouse-Witch beside her could react, Medusa had her hands inside each of their mouths.

“You meddlesome little frog and mouse. I think I’m going to have to punish you.” Medusa said, a twisted smile on her face. Erica and the Mouse-Witch trembled, fully aware that Medusa could kill them whenever she wanted right now. “Maybe not right now though. The school nurse mustn’t be late with so many patients to care for.” Medusa pulled her hands out of their mouths, and waved the liquid off them, then started to walk off again. This time she was unmolested.

“I can’t stand that Witch.” Erica growled, eyes still teared up. The Mouse-Witch nodded her agreement.

Twilight The Traveler

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